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Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Young Man and An Old Man - A Neil Young Story

The "Old Man" Louis Avala & Neil Young
1970 Dutch documentary film by Wim Van der Linden

Every now and then we get a note that touches our souls and that we feel obligated to share with the rusted Neil Young community... what we call "Neil Stories".

So pull up a chair, sit down, clear your mind, and ponder this letter from Buck.

Hey Thrasher,

Great job on providing current Neil news and stories. I have been a big fan of your site for a number of years, but a recent story touched me in a very special way. I can relate with the gentleman's story that was highlighted in "The Emotional Resonance That Is Neil Young" of August 1, 2012.

Just a few weeks ago, I lost my father in a fatal car accident. Growing up, Neil always had a special place in both of our hearts. At an early age, my father made a mix tape of several tracks from Neil's early years (mainly After The Gold Rush and Harvest), and I would often find myself falling asleep to those NY records. Fast forward to my high school years, I rediscovered Neil and have not stopped listening since.

Growing up, music was a big part of both our lives. I loved the same music from my mother and father's younger days, and would often go to several concerts with them. In fact, I treated both of my parents to two Neil shows on his Twisted Road tour from a few years back. At the show in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Neil treated many of his fans with both "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man" and encores. My dad always loved "Old Man," and the more I think about the song and its realism in illustrating that people from different generations are not that different, I began to think of my dad.

At 25, one does not realize how big an impact a parent has played in one's life until they are gone. When I got that news that my dad was killed in a car accident, I began to think not of material goods, but of those little idiosyncratic moments that make life grand. I thought of my dad's love of music, and how he and I shared a love for Neil's music. When it was time to plan my dad's funeral, my mother and I selected "Old Man" to be played at his service, and in true "Tonight's The Night" fashion my dad was buried in a concert T-shirt from the last show he and I attended, which was not a Neil show but Roger Waters performing The Wall.

Still, there was something very moving, very powerful about the way "Old Man" sounded at my dad's service. There was certain comfort my mother and I felt during that song that we had not felt all week in the wake of my dad's passing. When I heard the lines, "Live alone in a paradise that makes me think of two," I could not help but think of where my dad might be at the time of that song playing.

Not to sound too "otherworldly," but perhaps, as Neil sings, "There's more to the picture, than meets the eye."


So sorry for your loss Buck. Thanks for sharing your story. It sounds like you had some memories with your Dad... "Live alone in a paradise that makes me think of two."

Take care.

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At 8/23/2012 08:49:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Great comments, Buck. The generations really aren't that different, are they? Young people thinking about how their lives are going to be, and old people looking back on it all. That's a great connection you have with your Dad, one that will be there every time you hear ol' Neil. Long may you, and your trunks of memories, run.

A Friend Of Yours

At 8/23/2012 09:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words. I am forever grateful for the fact that my Dad introduced me to so much good music in our 25 years together. Through him I not only discovered Neil, but also Pink Floyd, John Prine, Frank Zappa, Steve Goodman, The Beatles, Levon Helm, Elton John, and so many others.

I have always loved Neil because he does not care what others think about his music, and he naturally enjoys changing and growing as a person, too. He reflects that quality that most people have hard time grasping-living a life in which you don't change, or experience new things, is not really living at all.

I have heard some of his new songs from the new Crazy Horse tour, and I am looking forward to seeing them at George Mason University on November 30. Perhaps Neil will continue to do what has done best for the past 40 years of his career-Live!



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